Timetable to address York public service woes needed

Anyone expecting the York Council’s Executive to take decisive action, to address declining public service standards at their meeting yesterday, will have been disappointed.

Despite a plea from Independent Councillor Mark Warters that a team be set up to deal with outstanding complaints, the Councils leadership remained tight lipped.

Cllr Warters was echoing a similar call from a growing number of Liberal Democrat supporters in the City

Many residents may conclude that there is something seriously wrong at West Offices.

Not only is there no timetable for addressing outstanding issues, but communications with residents are poor while many local Councillors (not all) fail to roll their sleeves up and tackle issues directly in their wards.

The York Council is no longer a “can do” organisation. It’s become a “maybe things will get better next year” type authority.

That won’t do. Its the kind of complacent attitude that has prompted a rise in more extreme political ideologies elsewhere in the country and abroad. It needs to be reversed, and quickly.

Not everything is bad, of course. Some individual Council officials are making limited progress in improving our streets as we show here.

The drainage channel on Foxwood Lane has been cleared
The Field Lane cycle track has been cleared of obstructions
But for every success there is a failure. The footpath on Hull Road remains obstructed despite pedestrians being forced onto the busy highway
and weeds still haven’t been treated even on streets where Councillors actually live!
New issues are emerging each day. This footpath on Field Lane, near the Hull Road junction, is now obstructed.
Not the Councils responsibility, but there has been a build up of litter on the Teal Drive “pocket park”. Reopened 6 weeks ago, it is being well used but it does need routine cleansing (or a litter bin). Reported to JRHT.

More blocked cycle and footpaths in York

We urge residents to report what appears to be an increasing number of instances of paths being obstructed by hedges in the City

The cycle path on Field Lane in the Hull Road ward is now completely blocked. Hasn’t happened overnight!

The public footpath on Hull Road outside The Elms is now completely obstructed. Potentially dangerous on what is a busy road. Pedestrians are being forced onto the carriageway.
Not a hazard (yet) but gutters in Maple Grove are choked with weeds. Verges an eclectic mix of weeds and wildflowers

The Thanet Road cycle track on the other side of the City has its share of obstructions but the main issue here continues to be litter.

So who will win the York Council elections on 2nd May?

Hull Road and Micklegate Ward reviews

Hull Road

The Hull Road ward is home to 15,055 residents. Average incomes are lower than the City average. 48% of residents own their home.  32% rent privately and 18% are social tenants. There are 615 Council homes in the area. 0.7% are out of work. Crime levels are below average.  63.6% of residents are satisfied with their local area as a place to live. This is worse than any other ward.  (York average 88.6%).  9.09% believe that they can influence decisions in their local area (City average 26.2%).  Source

Elections

This ward has been won consistently by Labour. It now encompasses the University of York campus.

The contest  is given added interest this time round as one of the Labour victors in 2015 has left the party and is standing as an Independent candidate. Hillary Shephard – formerly a Council employee and shop steward – was on the moderate wing of the Labour Party. Hull Road Labour is now hard left dominated  with  some students activists believed to be heavily influential. As with all Independents the hurdle that she faces is to mobilise sufficient help to get leaflets delivered and electors canvassed.

One of the Labour candidates, Michael Pavlovic ,won a by-election in 2017. It was held on the same day as the General Election which was used by many electors to protest to Mrs May about her wasting their time.

Unusually two of the Labour candidates live at the same address in the ward. They say they moved to study in the City as recently as 2013.

Prediction

3 Labour seats

Micklegate

The Micklegate ward is home to 12,927 residents. Average incomes are higher than the City average. 51% of residents own their home. 34% rent privately and 13% are social tenants. There are 544 Council homes in the area. 1.4% are out of work. Crime levels are well above average.  90.3% of residents are satisfied with their local area as a place to live. (York average 88.6%).  36.7% believe that they can influence decisions in their local area (City average 26.2%).  Source

Elections

Likely to be one of the most interesting contests this year. In 2015 this was the only ward to split 3 ways. 1 Labour, 1 Independent and 1 Green Party Councillors were elected.  Retiring Labour Councillor Dave Merrett plunged to 7th place in the poll with many people pointing to his decision to restrict access to Lendal bridge as the explanation for his drop in popularity.

Independent Councillor Jonny Hayes and the other surprise victor, Lars Kramm (Green), are both quitting after one term of office.  Both did bring a breath of fresh air to an otherwise predictable and tribal Council chamber. Lars Kramm is trying his luck in Copmanthorpe where he now lives.

There will no Independent candidate in the Micklegate Ward this time.

The Greens are fielding Rosie Baker who unsuccessfully contested a by election held in Micklegate in 2017. The victor then, Jonny Crawshaw, returns. He is understood to have ambitions to lead the Council’s Labour Group. He is joined by Sandi Redpath who is another party worker already on M.P.  Rachel Maskell’s payroll.

The fragmented result last time suggests that Micklegate has a sophisticated (or confused) electorate. The ward may once again produce an unexpected result.

Prediction

2 Labour seats, 1 Green seat.

Hull Road playing fields to be built on

Officials are recommending that playing fields next to the John Lloyd leisure centre on Windmill Lane be built on. There have been numerous objections to the plan which would see 70 houses constructed.

The application includes 1, 2, 3 and 4-bedroom houses and flats, all of which are indicated as being two storey. 30% of all house types would be affordable

The playing fields have been used for many years by St John University.

Three sports pitches are in regular use there by teams not associated with the university. As part of the previous development of the site – to provide the David Lloyd Leisure Centre (2001) – a s106 agreement was signed stating that the playing fields should be made available for a minimum of 16 hours per week.

The immediate surrounding area (Hull Road Ward) has a shortage of public space. In that regard, there are parallels with the Councils rush to build on playing fields at the former Manor and Lowfields school sites on the other side of the City.

In all cases the sites are mentioned in the emerging Local Plan but have not yet been subject to a public examination.

The plans are therefore premature and deny residents the opportunity to state their case to an independent inspector.

Hull Road – Melrosegate Junction Carriageway Resurfacing Works

City of York Council is to reconstruct the junction at Hull Road – Melrosegate Junction starting on the 20th October 2014.

The works are programmed to take 1 week to complete, working Monday to Friday between 7:00pm and 11pm.

To carry out the works safely, a road closure at Melrosegate and Green Dykes Lane will be in place near the Hull Road junction preventing traffic from using the junction of Hull Road and these two roads.

Hull Road will remain open under temporary traffic lights from 7:00pm and 11pm Monday to Friday, with some accommodation works taking place outside of these times.

Another day, another burst water main..York traffic congestion getting worse

Burst water main on Hull Road/Lawrence Street

Burst water main on Hull Road/Lawrence Street

Hull Road was closed to traffic early today following another burst water main.

A contraflow system is now in operation at the junction with Melrosegate.

Traffic congestion is bad in some parts of the City including Fulford Road.

There has been no announcement from the council about whether Lendal Bridge will be open to general traffic today.

Click on map below for up to date information on congestion

click for up to date details

click for up to date details